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Australia Greyhound racing heartland devastated by closure of flood-affected Lismore track

08:30  06 october  2022
08:30  06 october  2022 Source:   msn.com

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The track was one of the first places in Lismore to be inundated when floodwaters rose. (Facebook: Ladbrokes Park Lismore) © Provided by ABC Business The track was one of the first places in Lismore to be inundated when floodwaters rose. (Facebook: Ladbrokes Park Lismore)

Greyhound racing in northern New South Wales has been dealt a blow by a decision to permanently close Lismore's track.

Operating on the banks of the Wilsons River since the 1950s, the track was extensively damaged by flooding in February.

NSW Greyhound, Breeders, Owners & Trainers Association chairman Geoff Rose said it was not viable to rebuild the track, which would require meeting new industry standards.

He said the new standards would mean widening the track to six metres, which was not possible because of its proximity to the river.

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"We would love to be able to stay in Lismore, but the standards are what they are," Mr Rose said.

Devastated enthusiasts

Trainer Dean Clarson said the closure of the Lismore facility was devastating for those people involved.

He said most of his dogs were not suited to racing on the nearest alternative tracks at Grafton and Casino, so he was now having to travel long distances to race at Gunnedah and Taree.

"It's just a shame they couldn't keep the track going until we found a block for a new track," Mr Clarson said.

"We just need somewhere out there not far from Lismore to get going again."

Industry standards

The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds criticised the Lismore track in 2020 after two dogs were euthanased as a result of injuries sustained in separate race meetings there.

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In 2019, Greyhound Racing NSW closed the track for a period of time while investigating what it called an "unacceptably high" level of fatalities and accidents with the camber of the track under scrutiny.

Mr Rose said the industry had accepted the need to upgrade the track to make it safer for dogs.

"We agreed on those standards when the industry was threatened with closure, so we've got to abide by them."

Future plans

Mr Rose said the association was keen to work with Greyhound Racing NSW or any other tracks to establish a new venue in the area.

"Anything up there where we can get land and get a super track going — one turn, two turn, straight track — we will be involved with it all the way."

He said the Northern Rivers region was a heartland of greyhound racing, second only to the Hunter in terms of the number of breeders and trainers.

Lismore's last race meeting was held in February, shortly before 14 metres of floodwater swept through the facility.

Mr Rose said the track attracted visitors to Lismore and generated income for the town and local charities.

He said the site would now be cleaned up and most likely put up for sale.

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This is interesting!